Monthly Archives: January 2010

Learning To Choose A Library Book

Choosing a book to check out from the library is a daunting task for a 5 year old.  Everywhere they look there are books and the children don’t know where to begin their search.  I encourage the children to limit their search to one shelf which allows for plenty of choices.  As the children become more familiar with the library they learn to widen their search on more shelves, but until then, one shelf is enough.  When you take your child to your local public library, encourage your child to choose books that look interesting to him/her.  Of course, parents may also choose some books to read to your child,  but your child does need to learn to make a decision, and then be comfortable with his/her choice.  When a class of children go to the school library you can always tell the children who have had the opportunity of going to the local library to choose books.  They are familiar with the routine and enjoy the search to find just the right book. The next time that you take your child to the library, allow him/her to find some books and try to reserve your opinion of whether or not your child will like the book.  Choosing the ‘just right’ book is a learning process that for many of us takes a very long time.


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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Library

Children’s Books On CD

Children love to have stories read to them.  I find that reading stories at school instantly quiets and calms a noisy group of 5 year olds and I am sure that the same is true at your house.  Kindergartners should have books all over your house to look at.  Books can be found in the kitchen, family room, bedroom, bathroom and even in your car.  Kindergartners really enjoy going to the library and choosing a book to read but I wanted to remind parents to not forget about children’s books on CD’s.  When listening to a recorded voice reading a story:

  • a child will learn when to turn the page
  • a child will also learn to follow the spoken voice to the printed word
  • a child will be able to search for sight words that he/she is learning at school
  • your child will be able to listen to the story over and over and over…

While listening to books on CD’s won’t replace reading and snuggling with a favorite adult, it will allow your child to enjoy listening to a story whenever he/she wants to.

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Filed under Beginning Readers, First Grade, Kindergarten, Reading

Read To Your Child In Your Home Language

I teach 52 Kindergartners a day and these children speak many different languages at home.  (A few years ago I taught 2 classes that had 23 languages between them.)  These Kindergartners are the children of parents who want their children to learn English at school and to further the English language learning; these same parents speak and read to their children in English at home as well.  One tip that I learned at a workshop was that speakers of other languages cannot become fluent in English until they first become fluent in their home language. This is a tough sell to parents wanting the best for their children, but I encourage my parents who speak other languages to continue to speak their home language with their child and to allow their child to hear, speak, and learn English at school.  Parents, if you are reading this blog and you are fortunate to speak another language, please share this language with your child while he/she is young before the interest in learning the language is no longer there.  One way to do this is to read to your child daily from books written in your home language.  Share books that you read as a child and tell your child why the book was so special to you.  Many of the children that I teach are missing out on learning a language in the best place of all….home!

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Filed under First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Reading

Sentence Starters

As the author of this blog, I am able to see what people type into a search engine to end up finding me.  For the past 6 weeks, the top search has been people looking for Kindergarten sentence starters.  This tells me that this is the time of the year that teachers and parents alike are seeing a surge in Kindergarten writing.  It is true.  Midyear is when writing usually explodes in a Kindergarten classroom.  Now halfway through the year, the children are realizing why they have learned all of the letters and sounds and that they are now able to write down their thoughts with these sounds. These young writers want so desperately to write like their parents, their teachers, their older brothers and sisters, but they do need some guidance from us.  Simple sentence starters give Kindergartners a jump start with their thoughts.  In earlier blogs (October 26, 2009 and October 27, 2009) I wrote about making simple books with your child using simple sentence starters.  Just fold 2 sheets of paper, staple, and there you have it, a perfect sized book for a 5 year old.  Make the book too long and your child will lose interest.   The key to sentence starters is to use only 1 sentence starter for each project.  Using only one sentence starter gives your child the confidence to know what is coming and the comfortable feeling of predictability in his work. Remember, we are dealing with 5 and 6 year olds and we want successful writers who will learn to love writing and who will become lifelong writers with our encouragement.

New Sentence Starters:

I go to

We go to

He is

She is

I have

We have

I go into the…

I run to..

I play….

Sentence Starters from earlier blogs

I see….

I was….

I saw

I look at…

Can you…..?

Can you see a…..?

Can you see the…..?

Can you see my…..?

Here is a …..

Here is my…..

This is a…..

This is the…..

This is my…..

I like a…..

I like the…..

I like my…..

I like to go to…..

Look at the…..

Look at me in the…..

Look up at the…..

Come to the…..

Go to the…..

We can…..

We are…..

We like…..

It is a…

I see a…

I see the…

I see my…

I can see a…

I can see the…

I am a…

Here is the…


Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Writing

Counting By 5’s

I wrote 4 days ago about teaching your child to learn to count by 10’s to 100.  This skill will be very beneficial when learning to count money. Adding to that skill would be learning to count by 5’s to 100.  You could use the same chart that you are using for the 10’s

This time highlight 5, 15, 25, 35, 45, 55, 65, 75, 85, and 95 with one color highlighter. If you are new to this, also highlight the 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, and 100 with a different color highlighter. You now have a chart that will allow your child to practice counting to 100 by 5’s and 10’s, a skill that will be very beneficial when learning to count nickels and dimes.


Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Math

Valentine’s Day Cards In Kindergarten

Valentine’s Day is coming soon and if you haven’t heard about it from your child’s Kindergarten teacher, you will soon.   Kindergarten children will have a chance to exchange Valentine’s Day cards with each other and they have so much fun doing so.  Some sort of a bag or box will be decorated with anticipation of all of the cards that will fill it. Children usually prepare their cards at home and bring them in to pass out to all of their classmates. For some reason every year about half of the parents in my room sign their child’s cards, put them in envelopes and then give the completed cards to their child to distribute. Parents, please buy, or make your cards NOW so that your child has plenty of time to write his/her own name on the cards. This whole card process is a learning experience and your child should be involved every step of the way.

  • Your child should be with you when you buy the cards or the materials to make the cards
  • Your child should definitely sign his/her own name on EVERY card
  • It takes time to write your name on so many cards so a good idea is to do a few every evening until they are all done…but you should start early and not wait until the last minute
  • Parents should not sign their child’s name….especially not in cursive, what 5 year old can read that?
  • Your child should bring the cards to school when directed to do so
  • And lastly your child should NOT bring an unopened box of cards to school and expect the teacher to sit with him/her and open the box and tear apart all of the cards and help your child sign the cards (This happens every year, but maybe with this blog, it won’t happen this year!)

Get those cards early before the selection is gone and have your child start now signing those cards.  Better to be done early than waiting to the last minute.


Filed under Beginning Readers, Kindergarten, Parents, Reading

Sight Word Search

Your child continues to learn more and more sight words every day.  One way to review the sight words is to tear out a printed article from a magazine or a newspaper.

  • Cut the article so that the measurements of the page are about 8” x 8”.  (Anything larger would be overwhelming for your child.)
  • Give your child a highlighter (which 5 year olds love) and tell your child to look for one specific word all throughout the article. (i.e., the)
  • Please do not ask your child to find more than one word for each search.
  • You could cut out several pages and then keep these articles and a highlighter in your purse or tote bag as an activity that your child could do if he/she had to wait for you/big brother/doctor, etc.

Here is a list of sight words in case you missed it when I discussed them in an earlier blog

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Filed under Beginning Readers, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Reading